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  • Writer's pictureStephen Fodor

Intermodal Volumes, Transportation PACs, and Delta O'Hare Temporarily Shutters

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

Monday Morning Wake Up Call

November 30, 2020

Weekly US intermodal volumes march upward

(FreightWaves) U.S. intermodal traffic on a weekly basis exceeded the 300,000-unit mark this week amid continued brisk import activity.

Intermodal volumes for the week ending Saturday were 301,129 containers and trailers, which is 11.5% higher than the same week a year ago, according to data from the Association of American Railroads.

West Coast import activity is back near year-to-date highs, a FreightWaves Passport Research note said Wednesday. Indeed, BNSF’s (NYSE: BRK) intermodal volumes were up 13.1% year-over-year, while Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP) intermodal volumes were 2.1% higher for the same period, according to the research note.

“While in a ‘normal’ year we would expect a soft December for U.S. port and intermodal volumes, so far this year activity has held up, driven by distorted consumer spending patterns, retail restocking and congestion up and down the supply chain that has stymied shippers’ efforts to move freight quickly,” said FreightWaves Passport Research Associate Tony Mulvey.

Unpacking political action committees: Why are transportation PACs important?

(American Shipper) When a person thinks of companies contributing to political campaigns, he or she might think that company has open-door access to a politician because money talks.

What do the managers of political action committees (PACs) say? Their answer is that while companies’ financial contributions serve as a way for companies to engage in the political process, the companies — and the trade associations that represent them — don’t have unfettered access to the politician’s inner circle.

“There’s going to be a perspective that you pay money and you have an entitlement. It doesn’t work that way,” said Tom Lynch, vice president of congressional affairs for the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA). Lynch oversees ASLRRA’s PAC. “I’m sure a lot of people wish it would. … But by the same token, campaigns cost a lot of money, and if you wish to exercise your constitutional right in accordance with the notion that there will be differing points of view … then this is the means to try to support and enable them to be competitive.”

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a PAC is a group with the purpose of raising and spending money to elect and defeat political candidates. The group typically reflects a business interest, labor or ideological interests. PACs can contribute up to $5,000 per candidate per election. They may also give up to $15,000 annually to a national party committee.

Delta Cargo shuts Chicago airport facility for 9 days

(FreightWaves) Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) has shut its cargo facility at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport through Dec. 2 for what a spokesperson said was due to “an unforeseen staffing issue.”

In a message to customers on Monday, Delta Cargo said it is not accepting, delivering or transferring any shipments. Dispatch of inbound and outbound trucks is also unavailable, effective immediately, it added.

Atlanta-based Delta operates one international cargo-only service from Chicago to Frankfurt, Germany, that is affected by the embargo. The airline will reroute shipments to its scheduled New York or Atlanta flights to Frankfurt, spokesperson Debbie Sheehan said in an email.

This is the second time in five months Delta Cargo has temporarily closed its O’Hare warehouse. In late June, the facility closed for two days. No reason was given, but the airport was experiencing overall shortages of ground crews to handle cargo after many were furloughed when the coronavirus wiped out most passenger business.

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